“Hi, Ty! My name is Rob. I know you’re busy, but I’ve seen the goodness of God through your preaching in a way I’ve never seen before and I was wondering if I could get your perspective on something.”
Here at Light Bearers, we receive a steady stream of emails and phone calls like this one. Rob went on to explain that he didn’t always understand the gospel and, as a result, he related to his kids in a way that pushed them away from him and from Jesus. Now, he was having a spiritual awakening and realizing what he’d done.
“I feel stuck in this weird place where I have a beautiful picture of God that I want to share with my kids, but they don’t want to hear anything from me. What should I do? How do I get past this point where they don’t wanna hear what I have to say?”
I called Rob up. After a few moments of conversation, he got unstuck. I shared with him some simple principles that allowed him to begin moving forward with his kids. It wasn’t easy, but Rob was able to rebuild his relationship with his children.
These aren’t the only kinds of messages we get.
“Dear Light Bearers, please pray for my husband, Floyd. He has Parkinson’s disease and is having surgery tomorrow, the third time this month. They’re trying to help improve his symptoms.”
“Dear Light Bearers, I want to be closer to God and lead people, but I still struggle with sin in my life. Please pray that I may overcome.”
Others ask how to save a failing marriage, how they can revive their passion for their faith when they feel apathetic, or how to deal with issues that I won’t write about here because those souls are in the midst of struggles too painful to lay bare. For some, reaching out to us is the first time they’ve ever voiced their pain or perplexity to another human. This is a responsibility that we do not take lightly.
…preaching the good news of God’s faithful love…tends to bring to light wounds…
It’s been my experience, in the years I’ve spent preaching the good news of God’s faithful love, that doing so tends to bring to light wounds that each of us have endured at the hands of others as well as wounds that we have inflicted upon others, as it did with Rob. People begin to investigate their lives and ask questions. They look for guidance and direction. They want to learn how to apply the principles of God’s love to their relationships, which are often fragile or broken.
We, at Light Bearers, believe that every human is created in the image of the glorious triune God. If God Himself is a union of eternal relational bliss, and we are made in His image, and we want to vindicate the beauty of that image, then our communication about God to our fellow humans must be relational. We must not merely stand on a stage and preach. We must sit across the table and listen.
As the prayer requests and questions have increased, we’ve decided to take action. I am excited to introduce you to Angelo Grasso, who will be serving as Light Bearers’ new Spiritual Care Director, a position we created so we can more intentionally meet people’s mental, emotional, and spiritual needs through listening, conversation, and prayer.
Professionally, Angelo has spent many years doing campus ministry. Prior to working for Light Bearers, he worked as a chaplain for AdventHealth in Florida.
If you were to ask Angelo what spiritual care is, he’d say that “the first thing it involves is making people feel seen and heard. That orientation towards someone and their experience then leads to the action of caring for them.”
Being seen is exactly what people experience when they meet Angelo. He is incredibly attuned to others. I met him, years ago, at a young adult event in Boston, at which both of us were speakers. We also happened to be assigned as roommates. As we sat on our beds chatting, opposite each other, I quickly noticed something unique about this Chilean-Italian New York transplant. He is gifted with a powerful combination of intelligence and empathy. As long as I’ve known Angelo, he’s spoken with a brilliant intellectual perception regarding the gospel and human nature. And he cares about people. This brother is actually present, attentive, and tuned in when he’s with someone. If I’m with Angelo, he’s with me.
…caring, without an agenda, is something that reflects God’s character…
When we realized that we needed to be more intentional about listening to and praying with people, we knew Angelo was our guy. When someone emails us asking how they can share the gospel with their children, Angelo is here to give them a call. When a teenager sends us a DM on Instagram asking for prayer for their parents who are getting divorced, Angelo reaches out to pray with them. If someone is in need of help or counsel that falls outside the scope of what we can provide, Angelo gives recommendations.
Best of all is when Angelo takes the Light Bearers contact list, randomly picks someone, gives them a call, and asks if he can pray with them. He does this for the simple reason that caring, without an agenda, is something that reflects God’s character vividly in a world filled with isolated, lonely people.
As a church, we’ve tended to define our mission as a preaching mission. We’ve emphasized the fact that we have something to say, and we do; however, in doing so to the extent that we have, our communication has often become unilateral.
From the preacher to a mass of people.
But what about those people’s needs? We’ve educated them on prophecy, past and future, but we’ve neglected to speak to the listener’s present needs: marriage, children, vocations, and all the various issues of life.
When you give to Light Bearers, you’re helping support the work of spiritual care for people like Rob and Floyd’s wife. If you haven’t already, we invite you to partner with us as we seek to vindicate the beauty of God’s character, not only on an intellectual level—through preaching and teaching—but also through conversations, prayer, and a listening ear.
Ty is a speaker/director of Light Bearers. A passionate communicator with a message that opens minds and moves hearts, Ty teaches on a variety of topics, emphasizing God’s unfailing love as the central theme of the Bible. Ty and his wife Sue have three adult children and two grandsons.